How To Tell Your Family You Are Eloping

4 min read Jul 17, 2021

Elopement can be a touchy subject, especially since traditionally. It’s probably because as people, we want to be there for the big moments. So, it can be a real bummer when someone we love tells us that they’re not going to do that ‘big thing’ we think they should have and want to be involved in. So how do you break the news without breaking hearts?

1. Make a clear list of reasons you want to elope so you’ll be ready to explain.

Before you make the (second) big announcement, it may be a good idea to write down your reasons for eloping. You could bring it with you for referencing, or just take a peek before you sit down with your family. Some of your reasons may include:

  • Not wanting to spend all your savings or go into debt for a big wedding because:
  • You plan on buying a house soon
  • You’d rather put your money towards your honeymoon or a long vacation before having children
  • You plan on having children
  • You don’t like being the centre of attention and prefer something super intimate
  • You want your focus to be on each other that day rather than being on good hosts to your guests
  • A big wedding is too stressful
  • You want your ceremony to be in a hard-to-reach place
  • And any other reasons you might have.

2. Decide who you want to be there on your little, big special day. And then, together, approach the friends and family who won’t be receiving an invite and break it to them gently.

Just because you’re eloping, doesn’t mean it has to only be the two of you. Perhaps you’re super close with your mom and he’s got a ride-or-die best friend. Whether or not you want them to bring plus-ones is another joint decision you’ll have to make. Regardless, it’ll be nice to have some good news to deliver too, right?

3. Tell them in person before the elopement.

You could send out a mass “Cancel the Date” email if you wanted to be as efficient as possible. But you probably don’t need me to tell you that that would be incredibly impersonal and almost guaranteed to offend. One great thing about eloping is that you get to save a lot of time on wedding planning. Use that freed up space in your calendars to have some one-on-ones with your favourite peeps. They love you and, at the end of the day, deserve to hear directly from you about this important decision.

4. Keep it off your socials until everyone is in the know.

There’s something gut-punching about seeing big news from someone you care about and are close to from social media before you hear it from them. I remember when my best friend of 12 years and for whom I was to be Maid of Honour eloped with her husband. She messaged me after the ceremony and while I was happy for them, it did feel pretty bad not having known about it at all. She later made a short post about it on her Instagram, and had I found out that way, I probably would have been even sadder.

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5. Take in their perspective.

A lot of people you tell will be disappointed, and some of them won’t attempt to hide their feelings. When this happens, take deep breaths and remember that what they’re experiencing is valid, too. There’s a common idea that the wedding is not for the bride and groom, but rather for the betrothed couples’ friends and family. Your parents, grandmother, even aunts and uncles may have had ideas for your wedding brewing inside their heads for years. Reassure them that this is what you want and then give.

6. Plan something inclusive.

The best method I’ve found to deliver bad news to people is to try to include something good. Yes, they’ll need to come to terms with your elopement plans on their own, but you always help take a bit of the edge off by inviting everyone to a celebratory gathering at a later date. Some ideas include a series of dinners, with guests invited based on location. You could also send out some tokens of appreciation that include photos you took on the day of, so that they can share in your joy. There are plenty of ways to celebrate your marriage without needing to drop tens of thousands on a traditional event.

7. Even if they’re disappointed now, your loved ones will still love you, because this is your day!

When you elope, you’re kind of saying, “We care about you guys and would love for everyone to be there, if we could. Ultimately, this day is for and about us, and we hope you understand and will be happy for us.” There may be backlash and it may more time for some than others to be okay with it – and that’s okay, too. As long as you’re doing what’s best for both of you, then this small inconvenience in the planning stages will be more than eclipsed by the amazing memories you’ll make.

Remember, this is a special moment that belongs to and centers on you and your partner. With time, your loved ones will see that, because to them, your happiness is the most important thing.

Written by Janessa White

Janessa White is the co-founder of Simply Eloped and has helped thousands of couples plan elopements. As an expert in the field, she has been featured on Martha Stewart,, Vox, and HuffPost. Janessa thinks elopements are the ultimate way to tie the knot.